Last week J and I signed up for a community garden waiting list for the Spring. We were able to get a half plot in a garden that is just over a half a mile away.
Ever since we heard we were getting a plot, I have been contemplating how to get the most bang for our buck, or rather the most yield from our soil. The space is a five by five and in doing a little research I found a layout I like for optimizing space and that we could base our plans from.
A CSA, for those of you who might not know already, stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
They are usually a subscription based, co-op or small operation farm were community members buy shares each season.
A share usually consists of a delivery once a week with a variety of yummy produce and sometimes eggs, cheeses, soaps and other homemade goodies, depending on how big the co-op is. The co-op usually runs until October or November depending on the zone.
One usually invests a lump sum up front, although some CSAs allow you to simply pay a deposit and then pay monthly. The cost varies, but one can expect to pay about five to eight hundred-dollars depending on the size of your share, whether it’s a single or a double.
Out at Root Radical, the CSA I volunteered with, Emily, the owner, had a green house full of cucumbers and tomatoes that were hung from the bars of the ceiling with twine.
Each week as the plant grows you adjust the twine by tightening it from the top or by simply sliding and re-clipping the plant higher up so it doesn’t puddle on the floor.
By using this method she was able to grow hundreds of plants in a small space. They were all very healthy and produced a ton of fruit. This method, paired with weekly pruning, promotes air circulation and there for higher production naturally.
Our plot would be one square foot larger than the one in the diagram to the left. Which means we can grow some extra tomato plants as J isn’t very fond of green beans and well we’d probably get plenty of them in our CSA share. We’d then add a few plots of basil as we love to make basil pesto. It is another item we like to add to our food stores for the winter. We will probably add in extra onions and exchange the beets for turnips. Yum!
When I look at this diagram I get excited about the possibilities of fresh salsa, salads, veggie casseroles, and decadent summer pastas smothered in greens. I have already started collecting my seeds. I also plan on visiting The Sisters of Providence, a local convent that specializes in seed saving and maintaining local heirloom vegetable and fruit lineages. Only their workshops and educational walks don’t start till February.
I can’t believe how quickly it’s all beginning.